No Heroes, No Villains
By Steven Phillips
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780394725314, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 1978
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On June 28, 1972 in a South Bronx subway station, John Skagen, a white off-duty policeman on his way home, suddenly and without apparent provocation, ordered James Richardson, a black man on his way to work, to get against the wall and put his hands up. Richardson had a gun, and the two exchanged shots. In the melee that followed, Skagen was fatally wounded by a cop who rushed to the scene. In the ensuing trial, William Kunstler handled Richardson's defense and the author of this book, then assistant district attorney, prosecuted the case. Here is a first-hand, behind-the-scenes account of every step of the proceedings.